Onwards & Upwards

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Skirt: thrifted, Downtown Threads (similar) | Top: Brandy Melville c/o my roomie | Shoes: Steve Madden

photography by Ashley Yu, c/o Local Wolves Magazine

A few months ago I got to do a cool photoshoot and interview with Local Wolves Magazine, and my feature finally went up last week!! It’s an awesome article and you should definitely give it a read. When I talked with Local Wolves I was only a few months into my Sustainability & Style initiative, so it was interesting to read what I said back then and think about how I’m doing now. Boy has a lot changed.

I recently had to go through my entire closet at college and see where every item was made for an assignment for my fashion communications class. I looked at 113 articles of clothing. That’s everything I would wear to class, so it only leaves out my ridiculous amount of sorority tee shirts and my workout clothes. I was pleasantly surprised and also horrified by what where my clothes were made — granted a lot of the clothes I have with me at college were bought way, way before I even knew what conscious consumerism or sustainable shopping were.

18 items were made in the US. This was exciting for me to see — I was surprised, and happy, to see that some brands I used to shop quite regularly make their garments in the USA. 21 items, about 20% of my closet, were either thrifted, hand-me-downs or purchased on Poshmark. This skirt, for example, I got at my favorite thrift store in Burlington, Vermont. I didn’t think that I had that many second hand items in my closet, and it was awesome to see that my most of my most recent purchases fell into this category. From here, it was all downhill. My clothes were made in 17 other countries, including notoriously bad countries for apparel factory workers like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia. One of these 17 other countries was China, where 47 items in my closet were made. That’s a little bit less than half of my entire college wardrobe made in China. After visiting the country itself and hearing about the lax environmental regulations in factories from CEOs and big wigs in the business world out there, I started to fully understand the implications of producing clothes in China. The most alarming thing I found in my closet, though, was a top I bought early this year from Brandy Melville, a company that I thought produced all of its garments in Italy. The tag of this green tank top simply reads “made in p.r.c.” It took me a while to realize that it stood for People’s Republic of China. It’s clear that whoever chose what the tag said, whether that be Brandy Melville or the factory, was trying to hide that this garment was made in China. That’s not cool.

One thing I am proud of is that I am not quick to give up my clothes. Once I buy, I keep them for as long as they will possibly last. With fast fashion and its incredible deals and trendy pieces it’s hard not to get swept up in it all. Since talking with Local Wolves I’ve gotten over the initial shock of shopping sustainably. I’ve learned that if I want to buy something it’ll take a little more money than I’m used to dropping at Forever 21. I’ve learned that I need to get more creative with the pieces that I have, and when shopping in the future I must think more about buying timeless clothes. My whole mindset has changed since February, and I’m excited to see how I think about fashion and sustainability and ethics in another three months. Onwards and upwards, am I right?!?!?!?!?!!

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